Was Srila Prabhupada Systematically “Positioned”?
Temple President, Vrindavana 1977.
Before Prabhupada went from Vrindavana to London in 1977, I was rendering some personal service. Every morning at 1:00 a.m. I would go to him and help him to rise from his bed, and then carefully assist him to the toilet. Once, I stepped on his shoe by mistake, and I was very much shocked that this accident happened.
“Oh please excuse me, Prabhupada. This is a great offense.”
He was walking slowly and I was holding him up. By accident I happened to step on the back of his slipper. I immediately withdrew my foot. It was a great offense.
Prabhupada just waved it off and said,
“Ah! You are doing service.”
Before he went to London Prabhupada mentioned that he was thinking of going to London. Tamal had already told me that Prabhupada wants to see the devotees doing book distribution. He wants to see the preaching. He wants to see the foreign temples. He does not want to sit in Vrindavana. He is getting morose. So Prabhupada at 1:00 a.m. one morning said,
“So I am thinking of going to London.”
Considering his condition, I was shocked. Then he said to Tamal.
“What does Maharaja think of this?”
And I thought in my mind,
“How could I possibly answer?”
So I said,
“We are simply very much concerned for you. We are feeling much difficulty on account of your health.”
“No, no, what is the practical thing?”
I thought that maybe I am being sentimental. I had just told him that I was in a turmoil, how could I answer this question. I was thinking, how can I give advice to Srila Prabhupada? How could such a fallen rascal advice such an exalted personality? I thought for about two or three minutes.
Then I said,
“If Tamal Krishna Maharaja and Upendra Prabhu accompany you, and see to your needs, then I am sure there would be no difficulty.”
“All right.” Prabhupada replied.
The next day I was told that he decided to go to London. Of course I do not know how much my so-called advice had anything to do with his decision. However, in this way, he used to consult us, even though we were simply his disciples. He would consult us.
“Should this be done? Should that be done?”
It was part of his transcendental qualities. Just like he consulted about the bank. He would sometimes ask his disciples.
There is an interesting story in this connection. Once upon a time, just after the ISKCON temple in Vrindhavan had opened, I proposed an idea to Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada personally managed the society during the day, and then he would do his writing and translating early in the morning after he took a short rest.
Knowing that Prabhupada desired more time to work on translating and writing his books, instead of spending so much time in management. I seriously proposed to Srila Prabhupada,
“Prabhupada, you know we have this big piece of property where the goshala is, and it is just a short walk from here. I was thinking that you should retire from your management duties, and leave that up to us. You could live there at the goshala, and devote all your time to translating and writing.”
Prabhupada replied with emphasis,
“Yes! And in three days you will ‘RUIN’ everything”!
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